Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—BRICS strongmen meet, Israel-Palestinian ceasefire, UK cabinet shuffle, Obama’s credit card

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What to watch for today

The three men who rule much of the world meet in Brazil. The leaders of China, Russia, and India—along with counterparts from South Africa and Brazil—are all nationalistic leaders who rule with an iron fist.

A possible Israel-Palestinian cease-fire. Egypt is attempting to broker a deal between Israel, Hamas, and other Palestinian militant groups, starting with a de-escalation in fighting from 6am GMT on Tuesday, followed by a 12-hour cessation of hostilities that would lead to negotiations for a lasting truce.

A big week for Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are, like many other big US banks, expected to report dismal second-quarter earnings, and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon will speak publicly for the first time since he announced he has throat cancer. Meanwhile, analysts expect a 9% increase in Yahoo profits and are looking for updates on its minority stake in Alibaba, and Intel may see an uptick from narrow gains in the global PC market.

A dispatch from Janet Yellen. The Federal Reserve chair will explain her plans to unwind the stimulus to the Senate Banking Committee.

Chile ponders further economic stimulus. The country’s central bank, which meets today, have reduced Chile’s benchmark interest rate four times since October. But falling growth forecasts due to weakened domestic demand have raised expectations for further cuts.

While you were sleeping

Citigroup’s earnings were surprisingly fine. Despite the announcement of a $7 billion agreement to resolve a US investigation into shady mortgage securities, the bank’s earnings beat expectations and provided a boost for the entire US financial sector.

Ukraine blamed Russia for shooting down a military plane. Although pro-Russian separatists took responsibility for the downing of a Ukrainian aircraft near the Russia borderKiev says the powerful missile belonged to Russian forces.

BMW doubled down on electric cars. The German automaker plans to up increase its orders of Samsung’s electric vehicle battery cells by 20-30% in 2016, from 2014 levels. The batteries will be used for BMW’s i3 and i8 electric cars along with future hybrid models.

Iran’s leader may have scuppered nuclear talks. A speech by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that unexpectedly called for more uranium enrichment, not less, has restricted the ability of Iranian diplomats to negotiate a gradual end to sanctions.

The UK foreign secretary switched jobs. William Hague will become leader of the lower house of parliament, as a massive reshuffling of prime minister David Cameron’s cabinet—dubbed “the new night of the long knives”—is expected to usher in a more diverse group of  women and younger men.

The world feels better about China than it does about its president. Most Asians in a new Pew survey think China’s progress is good for their own country, but few trust president Xi Jinping. Other than people in China, Pakistan, and Malaysia, most Asians see the United States as their greatest ally.

Quartz obsession interlude

David Yanofsky on Airbus’s attempt to patent a new kind of airplane seating that would guarantee you less legroom. “The European airplane maker filed the application–officially named ‘Seating device comprising a forward-foldable backrest’—with the USPTO on June 12, 2014. Among the application’s claims is the seat’s ability to “avoid providing an excessive necessary distance” between seats—AKA legroom. Among the application’s omissions is a tray table (or even a cup holder).” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The NSA’s goal is total population control. The US spy agency has no interest in stopping terrorism.

Obama uses the wrong credit card. His JPMorgan Select card offers fewer benefits than comparable cards—though it’s not like he needs the frequent flier miles.

Buffett, Gates, and Adelson don’t understand immigration. The billionaires are willfully ignorant of the politics behind the US impasse.

Germany is a world champion beyond soccer. The country’s World Cup win is a symbol of its reunification and strength as a world power.

Hermione is the real literary role model. Harry Potter’s smart female confidant should be the star of the series.

Surprising discoveries

Running-of-the-bulls selfies are illegal in Spain. Police are looking for a daredevil who took an amazing self-portrait in Pamplona.

You can see political favoritism from space. National leaders’ hometowns shine brighter on satellite maps.

Researchers have developed a material nearly too dark to see. The ultra-black material absorbs almost all visual light.

Amazon employees are the hottest. Among big tech companies, at least; Apple employees are the least attractive.

It costs $20 to breathe in Venezuela. The country’s largest airport is charging outbound passengers to cover the cost of an advanced air purifier.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, light-absorbing materials, and presidential credit card recommendations to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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